How to Get Enough Sleep in College

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Remember how I claimed not to know a lot of things? And all those times I mentioned how lost I was? Well, ignore that, because now we’re talking about something I actually know quite a bit about.

DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT DRINK COFFEE. I do not require caffeine to survive. I’m so sorry if this makes you sad. I can’t help you. Maybe stop drinking it; that’s one of my tips, anyways.

Hitting “pay” on those tuition fees means a lot of things, some exciting, some not so exciting. Something not so exciting that comes with the college experience is the amount of sleep you can expect to get on a daily basis: not much. Between hard classes, tons of homework, nightly excursions, and maybe not the best food choices, it’s almost impossible to get enough sleep each night. Hopefully this post will help you make some lifestyle changes that can help you achieve the goal of sleeping more, because ultimately it will do wonders for your attention span and GPA.

The first step to take is to accept that you will never sleep as much as you would like to. Use those weekends at home to sleep! College is not the place to shut your eyes for 12 hours and eat breakfast at 2 p.m. Of course, we’re all guilty of doing that once in a while, and I can’t say I didn’t do that often freshman year. In general, oversleeping like that makes you feel worse and more lethargic. So, make it a point to get up early on weekends, a.k.a. definitely before 10 a.m. This gives you time to run errands, do work, nap, do work, eat, go out, sleep, and repeat. Likewise, during the week, set a limit for yourself on how long you can sleep. I like to get up between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.; it works for my classes, and I can either get up on the earlier side or late side if necessary. Setting windows rather than a specific time allows me a slower, more relaxing morning and feels less pressured.

Also, try to get the most sleep when it’s dark out. Like I said before, naps should definitely be a part of your routine if necessary, but if you take a five hour nap in the middle of the day, it will be difficult to fall asleep later, and it will mess up the following day completely. Also, our bodies are programmed to sleep when it’s dark out; it’s a routine we’ve been following for well over a decade. That being said: do not pull all- nighters. Just don’t. Get your shit done in advance; it’s not as hard as it sounds. Choosing to pull an all-nighter usually means you made poor sleep choices in the past few days.

Now that we’ve got our general outline for a routine, now we will address the common problems that come with maintaining a routine in college. One of these, especially for me, is simply not being able to sleep. I find myself laying down to sleep and not being able to, whether it be due to excessive screen time typing out a paper or overthinking. I have a few solutions for this issue.

First, never underestimate the power of music. I find that ambient music like Flume, King Krule, Frank Ocean, and artists that have more ~chill vibes~ help me go to sleep more than nature or ocean sounds. Listening to this music at the tail end of my homework for the night or while tidying up my room puts me in a mindset more geared for sleep. That being said, never underestimate the power of ASMR. I know a lot of people think it’s weird, and it definitely really is, but that shit is POWERFUL. I have been using it since junior year and a good video can knock me out in 5-10 minutes.

I also like trying to associate certain actions with going to sleep. For example, make tea, whip up a bowl of oatmeal, or write in a journal every night before bed, or at least on nights you have trouble sleeping. You may find that all you needed was a warm feeling in your throat or a mind dump to put you to sleep. Plus, these actions make you feel more cozy and that in general can put you to sleep. Put on mood lighting, like a small lamp or Christmas lights, and pick something to do. Even smoking weed sometimes does the trick. Find your local freshman boy and coerce him to go outside and give him $3 for a few hits. Instant sleep.

Going off of that idea, taking melatonin at night also helps. It regulates your sleep cycle and acts as a placebo, like less intense NyQuil. NyQuil should only be used as a last resort and only if you’re sick. One thing to stay away from if you have trouble sleeping is coffee. Coffee can be really bad for some people depending on your chemical makeup and I always find myself sleeping horribly if I have coffee.

If you think regulating your sleep isn’t the problem, excessive napping is, I’ve been there. The key to prevent excessive napping is simple: stop going back to your dorm during the day. Maybe if you’re older or wiser or something, you’re laughing at this tip, but freshmen especially do not follow this rule. I overhear freshman girls getting stressed out at their napping habits but it’s just because they don’t stay on campus and get work done! It’s so easy. If you’re prone to sleeping in public places, wear a semi-uncomfortable outfit, like jeans. I never fall asleep in jeans.

If you absolutely do need to nap, do not nap until all your classes are done. I am 100% more likely to skip a class if I wake up groggy 30 minutes before. Waking up with that feeling is HORRIBLE and not conducive to a learning environment. One of my professors asked me if I was drunk after coming to class post-nap. You are not your best self. Also, I feel like I’m the only one that needs this tip, but you need to remember that extra-curriculars are optional, and if you NEED sleep, choose not to go to them and take a nap or do work then. I always feel really bad about this but in the grand scheme of things it will not matter.

Lastly, you might be having the problem where you’re too hyped up or preoccupied at night and can’t sleep. I can say I’ve experienced this, and it’s almost more frustrating than any other sleeping problem. Two things that help: eating healthy dinners and going to the gym. It’s no secret that we all feel better when we eat healthy, so this will clear your mind and make you feel good about yourself. If you can’t force yourself to eat healthy, find some vegans and get dinner with them. They’ll pressure you into getting a black bean wrap or something. Also, going to the gym tires you out, so this likens your chance of going to bed a little early. I find sleep comes faster when I do both of these things.

If you get anything out of this post, please remember that if you are burnt out, just sleep. If you’re going through depression or any emotional issue, work on your sleep. It doesn’t matter that you’re behind on work; work on your mental health foremost. Get what you need done for the following day and lights out. Also PLEASE make sure you’re doing at least one fun thing a day. For me, this means seeing a friend, watching Youtube or Netflix, writing, making a video, painting, etc. Even if you’re super busy, make time for yourself. It’ll make so much of a positive difference.

I hope all of these tips helped, and shout out to Sophie for requesting this post. Sleep tight, ladies.

Some of my favorite Spotify playlists for sleep:

~Chill 420 vibes~

Nostalgic end-of-summer vibes

Doing work and concentrating but also getting ready 4 bed vibes

Fall night in Vermont vibes

Some of my favorite ASMR channels:

Gentle Whispering

ASMR Requests

Springbok ASMR

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Anti-Sophomore Slump Club

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That’s the setup for today, ladies. I just cracked open a nice cup of locally produced maple yogurt and I am ready to get back at it.

I have been meaning to get back into OTL for a while now. During the summer, since there is no schedule that makes me want to procrastinate and hate my life, I generally don’t make time to blog. But now that I have ample amounts of time I can convince myself to waste, I have big plans.

Well, I had big plans. Considering my entire life plan didn’t work out and I am not a transfer student at any of the ten schools I stalked mercilessly during the entirety of last year, I am back in BVT. I saved up a bunch of money and came here with the intention of making the year way better than freshman year, but I have no idea how to accomplish this.

I joined a few new clubs and have been enjoying those a lot, and I’m involved in the officer committee of one. I like joining clubs and stuff like that because a lot of times I find myself super anxious towards the end of the day and have no idea what to do during that weird few hours between when you stop doing homework for a little while and dinnertime. I’m burnt out but simultaneously really scared because I feel like I should be filling my time with something other than sleep- that’s where either reading a book as a form of escapism or my club meetings come into play.

I was also super hell bent on joining a sorority. I feel like I am close to the idea of a perfect candidate for a sorority and many people have echoed this sentiment to me. I love large groups of women, Instagram captions, and buying new clothes. I genuinely love community service and cry out of happiness during most of it. But I just want to know why it’s so damn expensive. It would be literally the perfect thing for me to fill my time with and yes I can afford it this time but I would rather travel and be able to live my slightly expensive lifestyle with my money, honestly. This is probably one of the bigger internal conflicts I’ve ever had and also the most elaborate pro-con list I’ve ever made in my life (I would post it but it’s all of my inner thoughts in one and I’m just not ready for that kind of exposure yet). But I can finally clear my mind and say that I’m not going to use my hard-earned dollars for that. But don’t get me wrong, when I see cute formal pictures and bid day videos, my heart is going to break a little and I will wish that my financial situation accounted for that expense, because it’s so worth it to be that cute and have that much fun.

If anyone is wondering, my slightly expensive lifestyle accounts for coconut shavings in my oatmeal, the biweekly visit to the Urban Outfitters clearance section, Megabus tickets, buying used books on Amazon, and the current half-off sale at the North Face. Also, you can get your bottom dollar I’m going to D.C. this year; it just can’t not happen. It’s going to be a semesterly tradition ladies.

I am also entertaining a few other ideas this year: I really either need to stop my Youtube addiction or become a Youtuber myself, I want to live in a city and have an internship and a few jobs during the summer, and I want to publish a book. These are all things I have been telling myself I probably shouldn’t do for one reason or another.

I want to make a Youtube channel because it would be the culmination of my life obsession. I have been watching Youtube regularly since I discovered that the sound of people speaking in different accents puts me to sleep when nothing else does. I found this one woman named Amy who knows how to speak in literally any accent possible back in seventh or eighth grade, and ever since then I’ve somehow transformed that regular habit of Youtube into many phases that have heavily informed my life choices. I even applied to a college back in senior year because freshman year I watched a girl who went to that college and it seemed fun. I’ve watched a lot of random girls grow up and go to college and get cool jobs and it’s so weird but also kind of nice that I can do that. I want to write more about that and how watching Youtube is kind of a private thing that’s stigmatized but also a thing that we know we all do.

I want to move to a city and get an internship and a few jobs because I’m tired of cities being my destination for a trip, not my home. I want to finally live in one already. I also want to feel like my degree is going to get me a job and not just teach me about Socrates and anarchism for no reason. I want to have a gross, small apartment with posters as decorations instead of actual picture frames on a wall and only eat grapes for breakfast. I want to be poor with a purpose. Sounds weird but hopefully you can get what I mean. I also want to work as a barista somewhere because I feel like being a barista should be part of who I am and I want to randomly know how to make drinks when I bring people over my house so they think I’m cultured. But who knows, because at the same time I want my beach and my backroads and quiet farmers markets and Ashlawn Farm Coffee. How do you know when to leave your hometown?! Is there ever a right time? Let me know.

This might make me seem ~secretive~ and ~elusive~ which are two things I know I will never be, but I’ve been writing a book since last November. I wrote a few books when I was younger, mostly in middle school. It doesn’t seem like some big daunting project, but it’s always in the back of my mind. I’ll be doing something completely related to my linguistics class and get this lightbulb in my head about what’s supposed to happen to which character and have to stop everything and flesh it out. It’s really annoying sometimes because I feel like my book is pointless and should not take place over my academics but I don’t know, I can’t help it. And I don’t want anyone to read it necessarily because I’ve only ever told one of Michael’s college friends about it so literally no one knows about it and also I can’t write anything that isn’t extremely personal. Everyone knows I’m a little bit of a stalker and I’m super good at it so this book has my stalkerish personality written (literally) all over it. I’m just super interested in the girl social media culture we all live in and class divides and stuff like that so it’s about that. I want to finish it in the coming year and maybe do something about it. But out of all of these it’s the least likely to come to fruition, which is saying a lot over the summer internship thing.

I hope that satisfied the three girls that read this blog (hello ladies). Tell all your friends about this please. I’m ready to be known. I want my life to be broadcast over the internet. Hi, I’m Maina, and because I grew up in a small town and have a lot of freckles I think I’m special, and I can’t give it up. Welcome.

 

 

The Breakfast Ritual

Two years ago, I think in April when I lived in the beach house, I was messing around with ingredients on a Saturday morning. I had decided to give up eating poptarts, also known as my insatiable obsession in life, so I wanted to create a new breakfast. What was born on that day has never left my life since.

Half of the reason I love coming home lies in making this concoction. The amount of ingredients and some add-ins have changed over the years, usually based on whether I can convince my mom to pick up a $9 bag of chia seeds at Stop and Shop. Sometimes at school I didn’t have blueberries readily accessible so I stole strawberries from the dining hall and used those instead. Regardless, this breakfast will always have the same core ingredients, and last month I filmed myself making it so hopefully other people will give it a try. Personally, I don’t like a lot of water in my oatmeal so that’s why it looks like damp granola.

Enjoy!

June 2017

I’ve taken a break from posting on the blog and gave it a little makeover a few days ago. I think it looks a little bit more mature and it’s a breath of fresh air. I created One Thousand Lemons a year ago this month, and my first posting anniversary is coming up mid-July. I’m also making some changes to the way I post content; for example, this is going to be modeled after a “favorites” post but it’s going to be looser and encompass experiences more than things, because how I used to write these posts always felt inorganic and annoying.

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I remember when I met you / Salt in the summer breeze

You helped me draw the borders / When the ink, it starts to bleed

You’re my only harbor / When I’m drifting out to sea

Wanna wash up to the shore and / Bring you home to me (x)

To be listened to: baking in the sun on your favorite beach, with sunglasses and hair flying everywhere on Route 1 after a Bradley and Wall lunch, in the shower where all the sand in every crevice of your body is washed clean

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I read Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler this month of June, either engulfed in cold sand or by my bedroom window with the incessant pattering of rain as my background music. I underlined a lot; “Let’s just say I was born in late June of 2006 when I came over the George Washington Bridge at seven a.m. with the sun circulating and dawning, the sky full of sharp corners of light, before the exhaust rose, before the heat gridlocked in, windows unrolled, radio turned up to some impossibly hopeful pop song, open, open, open.” or “Do you see how, up close, it’s blurry and passionate? And from a distance, whole?” or “Was I a monster or was this what it felt like to be a person?” Recovering from it, this book is probably one of the best I’ve read. I felt connected.

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I had all and then most of you, some and now none of you / Take me back to the night we met

I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, haunted by the ghost of you / Oh, take me back to the night we met

And then I can tell myself / What the hell I’m supposed to do

And then I can tell myself / Not to ride along with you (x)

To be listened to: directly after sunset on Old Orchard Rd, at 2 o’clock in the morning with someone you love but know you won’t have for long, driving through suburban Rhode Island in bright afternoon sunlight with your head out the window

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I went to Friday’s shows at The Governor’s Ball Music Festival in Manhattan, New York on Randall’s Island. I found myself in the middle of a mosh pit during ScHoolboy Q, felt liquid gold and chills down my spine up front for Flume, and ate sweet french fries very far from the stage with Wyatt, singing along to my favorite Chance the Rapper songs and felt pure happiness. I made a video of the performances I recorded. If you are considering dropping money on a music festival, I highly recommend it.

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Found a cure for loneliness, I’m forever immune / Stuck in my walk and in my head and I hum her tune

Yep, she got rhythm, it’s like / Some things don’t need words

You know you’re living / When it all becomes a blur

Can’t be explained, and there ain’t no reason to / Something strange just takes over you

One million lovers to choose from, but none like her / The only one for sure (x)

To be listened to: screaming the lyrics with your best friend on the drive to Dairy Queen, after 11 p.m. closing at work and trying not to cry having nowhere to go afterwards anymore, singing to yourself around the house when making oatmeal

Riley introduced me to the beauty that is a baguette and Mascarpone. I’m obsessed. I rip off a slice of bread, open it up with my fingers, slather on the Mascarpone, and it’s heaven. Serve with dark chocolate and a huge glass of water or seltzer for the full experience. Foodwise, I’ve also gotten back on the Annie’s fruit snacks grind, and it’s cherry season so you know where to find me.

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I like to watch the world, the world is looking good today / And it’s almost like I’m sleeping, I pull my head back to the sun

Clean my house from big fat flies / Dreaming of the city

Clear my head, clean my bed / Dreaming of the big city, big city (x)

To be listened to: swaying on a boat wearing white linen pants holding a glass of wine, driving to a seafront dinner wearing your nicest summer dress and wedges, screaming out the window on the way back from Hammonasset Beach after a sun-soaked day

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I bought the eyelet top at American Eagle in the month of June and it has quickly become one of my favorite shirts. It happens to go perfectly with my favorite jeans in the whole entire universe, the Gap boyfriend jean. The rips in the leg are perfect, the jeans are amazing quality, and the cuffs are a little ripped too which give them character. I wear these at least twice, maybe three times a week. Here I paired it with my new large J. Crew sunglasses and my favorite casual sandals from Target.

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I don’t get weak in the knees, hundreds spread out like a fan / Vert feel like some Gucci sandals, open the sky, get a handful

Torso marked up like a vandal, how you not fucking with cash? / God gave you what you can handle, gave you what you could handle

I got the grip like the handle, and I’m biking / I’m biking with me and my Daniel

Hades got the angels, TV’s got the angles / I’m braking (x)

To be listened to: biking in a wet bathing suit and ratty t-shirt, wet hair drying messily in the wind, in the morning making breakfast home alone, when you want to smile for no reason because Frank Ocean is a god and his voice is honey

The first half of June was packed with rain, which of course led countless hours of Youtube browsing. I discovered Margot Lee and watched pretty much all of her videos this month, and I rekindled my love for Rachel Bryner, who is just too good at being aesthetically pleasing. And, don’t even get me started on Katy Bellotte. I’ve loved her forever, and she’s been updating her blog more, which is so exciting. I feel like she gets me on another level, and since this month has held some disappointments, her musings on life make me feel refreshed.

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Something bad is ’bout to happen to me / I don’t know what, but I feel it coming

Might be so sad, might leave my nose running / I just hope she don’t wanna leave me

Don’t you give me up, please don’t give up / On me, I belong, with you, and only you baby

Only you, my girl / Only you, babe (x)

To be listened to: half singing along alone laying in bed, journaling experiences and feelings, reading new blog posts on The Messy Heads, waiting in parking lots, at gas stations, for directions, feeling disconnected

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Overall, June taught me a lot and I can’t believe it’s already over. Summer is halfway over. I started buying things for my sophomore year dorm; a new duvet, laptop skin, poster, sweatpants and sweatshirts. June taught me a lot about who I am as a person; how I want men to treat me, whether or not I should act on my desires, who in my life is actually there for me and cares for me, and how much it takes for me to give up on something I’ve already started.

And don’t forget the little things in life, like Fruity Pebbles, a new silver necklace, book club, trashy novels about Connecticut housewives, other people’s dogs, causeway sunsets, the one depressing Spotify playlist I have turned up to full volume in my car always, the marinated chicken sandwich at Shanks, Catlen’s pool, yoga, and acceptance.

Surviving Freshman Year: A Playlist

Everything is coming to a close and I don’t know what to make of it. I’ve been sick for the past few days so all I’ve been doing is writing and cleaning out my Spotify playlists. I realized from Spotify mainly how much changing I’ve done and how sentimental (well, isn’t it always) music was to me this year. At first I thought I still listened to the same music, but my curated playlists from high school and now are pretty different.

A lot of my musical growth this year has come from boys. Most of my interactions with guys started over music, Mac Demarco being the main player. It’s funny, because in two weeks when I see him it will basically be a reunion of me and every guy I’ve ever expressed interest in this year.

One of the first guys gave me The Strokes. The Strokes were a big part of my fall semester playlists and they were basically all I listened to as I walked from class to class in the brisk weather. He also gave me Courtney Barnett, whose Avant Gardener I will never forget. I learned all of the words to that song in a heartbeat; it’s hilarious, it’s UVM, it’s amazing.

The guy who painted my spring semester with music gave me a lot: LCD Soundsystem, Kaytranada, $uicideboy$, and renewed appreciation for Cage the Elephant and Matt & Kim. He reminded me of the L Train and he has a girlfriend now, or at least that’s what I’ve gathered from his Instagram. LCD will always be a solid walking-to-class choice, thank you.

Lastly, I’d like to thank my old suitemate for letting me lay in his bed, smoke his weed, and listen to Lonerism. That really set the tone for my UVM experience. Also, thanks for being the only straight (?) man who appreciated unreleased Lana.

The following songs are songs I’m going to listen to as we drive away from my new city, possibly for the last time, loaded with boxes and boxes of clothes, memories, textbooks, and my winter boots. They’re the songs that characterized this translucent April, the April that helped me realize a lot about myself. Spring has always been like that for me, but April is ending in peace this time, and not open chaos. April came in like a lion and out like a lamb.

ragged wood – fleet foxes

“come down from the mountain, you have been gone too long. spring is upon us, follow my only song. settle down with me by the fire of my yearning. you should come back home, back on your own now…”

feeling whitney – post malone

to each their own and find peace in knowing, ain’t always broken, but here’s to hoping. show no emotion, against your coding, and just act as hard as you can…”

the dreamer – the tallest man on earth

“oh sometimes the blues is just a passing bird, and why can’t that always be?”

shine – mondo cozmo

“stick with me, jesus, through the coming storm, I’ve come to you in search of something I have lost. shine down a light on me and show a path, I promise you I will return if you take me back…”

an illustration of loneliness (sleepless in new york) – courtney barnett

wondering what you’re doing, what you’re listening to, which quarter of the moon you’re viewing from your bedroom. watching all the movies, drinking all the smoothies, swimming at the pool, I’m thinking of you too…”

hang loose – alabama shakes

“hang loose, hang loose, let the ocean worry about being blue. hang loose, hang loose…”

atlas hands – benjamin francis leftwich

“take me to the docks, there’s a ship without a name there and it is sailing to the middle of the sea. the water there is deeper than anything you’ve ever seen, jump right in and swim until you’re free. I will remember your face, ’cause I am still in love with that place. but when the stars are the only things we share, will you be there?”

The following are songs I’ll characterize with the uncertainty of the beginning. The plane rides, the sweat, the crunchy hair days when everything was humidity. Dropping my eight dollar wrap on a sidewalk in the District while my headphones flew out of my ears. Making myself Nutella rice cakes and doing my Spanish homework ten minutes before class. When I tried so desperately to pretend I had it all figured out, and all my dreams were so, so big. And towards the end of my fall semester, when everything seemed like a tragedy and I went home numb.

the moment – tame impala

“in the end it’s stronger than I know how to be, and I can’t just spend my whole lifetime wondering. I fell in love with the sound of my heels on the wooden floor, I don’t want my footsteps to be silent anymore…”

crane your neck – lady lamb

and how it hurts, even in the sun. it’s a god-damned joke how we can hurt even in the sun. for a heart beats the best in the bed beside the one that it loves, oh yes a heart beats the best when in a head, death becomes irrelevant. ’cause if you’re dreaming about dying, then you’re not really living, darling. you’ve gotta be starving, you’ve gotta be starving for it...”

lonely – mean lady

it’s almost over, time when we’re not together. I feel it getting better all the time. and what if it takes too long? what if it takes too long and I’m lonely? how can it break me and make me so strong? what if it takes too long?”

new person, same old mistakes – tame impala

“and I know that it’s hard to digest, a realization is as good as a guess. and I know it seems wrong to accept, but you’ve got your demons and she’s got her regrets…”

wanderer, wandering – slow club

“I’ll ask where you’re going, and what you’re doing. you have no answer, ’cause you’re a wanderer, wandering, you’re a wanderer, wandering. and every second is a pounding drum, you’re leaning over me to put another record on, and every other guess is just cold hard luck…”

17 – youth lagoon

“surrounded by nothing, but nothing’s surrounded by us, it’s just me in my room, with my eyes shut. oh, when I was seventeen, my mother said to me, ‘don’t stop imagining, the day that you do is the day that you die…'”

hard to explain – the strokes

“I say the right thing but act the wrong way, I like it right here but I cannot stay… I missed the last bus, we’ll take the next train, I’ll try but you see, it’s hard to explain…”

The following are songs I’ll associate with the sadness of excitement. With the first drives up for the purpose of orienting myself here. With the Champlain sunsets, the firsts, the endless Ben and Jerry’s post-class outings, the sun catching itself perfectly in a window as I study. With the times I’d looked around with a soft sense of realization and wonder and knew I would be okay, and times I’d fallen asleep blurring the lines between here and home.

man on fire – edward sharpe & the magnetic zeroes

“come dance with me, over murder and pain, come dance with me, over heartache and shame. I wanna see our bodies burning like old big suns, I wanna know what we’ve been learning and learning from…”

reality in motion – tame impala

it made my heart run in circles and overflow, and I was closer than ever to letting go. it made my heart run in circles and overdrive, and I was closer than ever to feeling alive… heading for the deep end, soon as I remember, baby I surrender, I just need to breathe out, decisions are approaching, reality in motion…”

tiny cities – flume ft. beck

“can I? should I? find my way home? now did I, think I’d better go home. all I said I needed was gone, but I thought I heard it all wrong… but it’s never easy when you think you have it in control, somehow you get caught up in the moment and you never know…”

where the skies are blue – the lumineers

you’re gonna leave, it ain’t gonna break my heart, mama, cause I’ve never seen nobody quite like you. and if you ever change your tune, oh the world’s got the best of you, you can always find me where the skies are blue…”

settle – two door cinema club

“’cause I see the world in different colors to someone like you. the city will pull you in, romantic and drenched in sin, love. you only have but a time until this place will swallow you whole…”

no no no – beirut

don’t know the first thing about who you are, my heart is waiting, taken in from the start. if we don’t go now, we won’t get very far. don’t know the first thing about who you are…”

rivers and roads – the head and the heart

been talkin’ about the way things change, and my family lives in a different state. if you don’t know what to make of this, then we will not relate… rivers and roads, rivers and roads. rivers ’til I reach you…”

Where All the Veins Meet

This morning, I smiled at my reflection in the mirror, noticing a crop of new freckles and some peeling skin on my nose. It’s finally warm in Burlington. It may not last, but for the next ten days we are north of 50 degrees, which is all I can ask for. I smudged generous amounts of grapefruit essential oil on my wrists and neck and mixed it in with a few drops of the fragrance I’ve come to associate with my soul itself; Beach by Bobbi Brown. Together this combination reminds me of summer mornings at home cutting up a grapefruit, wearing a free people dress and going on a bike ride to the beach.

I am so happy here and don’t want to leave Vermont, because it’s so fun and beautiful, but I miss home so much. I don’t know how it’s possible to feel both. I can’t wait to jump feet first into the ocean, but I’m going to miss climbing up mountains and stumbling down to the waterfront with a picnic blanket, beer, and a sandwich. I guess my life is filled with so much beauty and the fact that I can’t have both places I love at once makes me sad.

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Yesterday I led a hike, my first real hike, up a mountain that was coated in thick untrustworthy layers of snowfall. By the time I left my socks were soaked through with snow and mud and my leggings were adhered to my ass from the times I fell and let myself slide. We sang along to Vermont radio stations on the way home and I was so tired and happy. A lot of the girls had never gone hiking before, and some were annoyed at how slow they were, but it just reminded me of a cliche, that we all get down the mountain somehow, no matter how unprepared or how likely to stumble we are. Even the best hikers on that trip had to sled down some parts, their packs soaked through with snowpack. It’s maybe a metaphor for this semester. Yeah, going uphill is hard, and you don’t know where to put your feet sometimes and your leg can fall through really easily, but the view at the top is great. On the flipside of that, the way down can be quicker and easy, but slushy, unreliable, and filled with challenges.

With that metaphor in mind, I know I’m just stumbling through the slush and mud in the final throes of spring semester. But I’m choosing to love it, rather than how much I hated it last semester. If there’s anything I wish I’d done differently, it would have been to talk to people. To wear the clothing I wore in high school. To try not to change so fast just because my surroundings did. To sing to Hozier in the shower on Monday mornings, to color in your journal on the quad, and to text that girl you met at a leadership conference to make popcorn and have a picnic. Follow the girl in your spanish class on instagram when you come across it. Talk to the boy in your environmental science class, ask him about Minnesota, go to a party and ask for a hit of his joint and be his friend. College can be just as socially smooth as high school was for you, Maina, if you just treat it that way.

My advice to future college freshman: buy the expensive fruit at the farmer’s markets, hang out with the kids you met in your orientation group, laugh for hours over breakfast instead of getting up after twenty minutes to study. Trust everyone and be content, like the wholesome meme says. People notice what you’ve got going on in your head, regardless of what the 2012 tumblr depression blogs say, so just choose to enjoy the challenges and people will enjoy them with you. I can’t believe I took all of this from a hike, but I guess the weather getting warm reminds me of who I really am. I do believe that people take after certain seasons and I know mine is summer so I am doing my best to reflect how I feel right now onto others.

I can’t really end this on a note that will tie this information together up neatly like most of my posts do. I feel like there is so much I’m going to live over this last month and two days of my freshman year. I cannot believe it’s almost over. So I’m just going to leave a poem that reminds me of this time in my life, so when I feel this way all over again it will make sense.

“As I write
the coffee shop is getting crowded
My back is to the line and counter
but I hear as people enter and exit
the creak of the door
I feel the cool draft 
the outside air gushing in eagerly
while it is able
Overhead is Bono’s voice
replacing Chris Martin’s
“I have run
I have crawled
I have scaled these city walls”
My left bicep starts to throb
I rub my eyes
“But I still haven’t found
what I’m looking for”
“But I still haven’t found
what I’m looking for”
The throbbing stops
and I inhale deeply
resting my head on the concrete wall beside me
painted white
although not fresh and fragrant” (x)
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Toast Can Never Be Bread Again

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This weekend was so strange in a wonderful way. If a little over a month ago I was feeling the seasons change from winter to fake spring, I felt the seasons change from winter to real spring this weekend. It snowed one (hopefully) last time Friday night, the sleet coming down in large swaths, at first melting as soon as it hit pavement and dry grass but eventually coalesced and stuck overnight. Saturday morning it turned into real snow and continued to fall over Burlington; the white sky encompassed absolutely everything and turned windows on Battery Street into stark alabaster canvases.

My favorite days are the ones where I explore Burlington by myself, picking the music I want to listen to, which bus seat I want to occupy, and what cafe I want to do work in. I walked around Church Street, College Street, and looked into most stores I have never entered before. I went to Burlington City Arts, I was the only one in the whole museum, and watched people walk through city park. I did work at a new cafe, August First, and drew in my journal until my hands hurt.

I agreed to have about ten members of Champlain College Class of 2021 in my common room Saturday night. I got them weed, they smoked, we talked. I forgot that people are excited about Burlington. I see it in the faces of the tourists and the way I feel when I look at sunsets, but Burlington lost next to all of its glimmer that it possessed when I visited here almost two years ago. They all inspired me to make more of a conscious effort to notice the excitement here, because it’s there, and we’ve all just gotten used to it, and that’s sad.

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I don’t know what it is, but something clicked in me after spring break. I felt it as I was laying in my bed, watching i-D videos about Korean beauty standards and slowly falling into a deep sleep. The sunlight reflected off of the snow coating the rooftops of South 1 and streamed through my window, illuminating the sounds of birds chirping. For a second, I felt like I was home. Not in the college-is-my-home-fuck-my-hometown way, but I started to blur the lines between Clinton and Burlington for a second, in sleep stasis. It was the same kind of settled feeling I felt in the car on the way to Walmart today when Emily and I had the windows down and Dug My Heart was playing. I didn’t feel inclined to lean my knees against the center console and tense up. I didn’t feel inclined to stay awake for fear of inconveniencing my roommates when they returned from the gym. I fell asleep peacefully, not dreaming at all, settled.

 

Both Sides Now

I have such a fascination with life, and hopefully it shows in everything I do, say, and create. It always strikes me how unpredictable and difficult life can be, and how we really, truly only have ourselves. For me, I know I have me, and some people I can count on the most, like my mother, father, brother, and sister. I know they have to and want to love me and care about me and my wellbeing, because they feel tied to me through blood and familial relation.

As much as I absolutely value the connection of friendship, and how I recognize that without my closest and even farthest friends I would not be who I am today, friendship is so fucking fleeting. They end over the smallest of things, or end quietly and you didn’t even notice. A lot of times, I find myself running away in friendships, blocking and unblocking them on Instagram, removing their photo on my lockscreen, avoiding eye contact or snapchats. And it’s so much harder to not care about people because of social media. Social media is fucked up in that sense. I want nothing more than to have some people out of my life. But the kid who falsely accused me of raping him in high school just updated his relationship status on Facebook, and my ex roommate posted a cute picture of the room she redid when I left. It’s. So. Hard.

And I was just saying today that I need to do things alone. I am creative when I’m by myself and I am more myself when I am alone. I can look at things differently when I’m alone and am fully immersed in my own voice and thoughts. I watch the videos and movies I want to watch, I pick and choose what I want to wear regardless of what others may think and what I want to listen to and not have to worry about who doesn’t like rap music.

Another part of me is always like Who are you kidding, you need humans to survive. And I know that. I know I am so reliant on human interaction. I love it and I thrive off of it, and I love making friends and seeing people’s posts on Facebook and VSCO. I love knowing what others are doing because half of it is curiosity and insecurity and the other have is just gathering genuine inspiration.

But then I get a mean text, or a side glance at the dining hall table, or an unanswered snapchat chat, and everything changes. I see the red minus symbols next to their heads like I’m playing Sims. And everything changes. I go back into my hole and I listen to Frank Ocean like it’s eighth grade all over again. Then I discover new parts of me and enter the real world ready to repeat the cycle all over again.

But this is also when I am most vulnerable. When I am all alone I feel fully powerful in a completely vulnerable way, like my soul is standing naked at an open window during a winter storm. And this kid came over last night, we ate chips and drank and talked about our childhoods, and I forgot what it was to feel like this. It’s such a thrill but also makes me want to cry myself to sleep. And that’s when I realized that that is love. Not love in the traditional let’s-get-married, we’re-soulmates sense, but the hey, I love life and so many other people do too and we all experience it different ways love. The kind of love that recognizes Manhattan and Philadelphia as someone’s childhood cities instead of Manhattan and Boston. And that’s the best way to think of it. Yeah, you might not have gone to concerts in Philadelphia on the weekends, but you did go to the Met, and so did he, and you both donated $1 like bad patrons and stared at the art like you were trying to become it.

Love is the vulnerability I feel turning on music I was too afraid to listen to because it reminds me of my old suitemate that I didn’t let myself have feelings for. Love is thinking of the three instances you have watched Pepperoni Playboy with people; one with Amanda on a senior snow day falling asleep, one with Olivia in Peter’s bed high off your ass, and one at 2 a.m. with a boy from New Jersey wearing olive green pants. Love is life and connection and disconnecting for a while and not always having to bring things full circle, because you know that the universe will do that for you and it will fill you with awe and raw emotion. Fascinating.

Ideal Shopping List

  • dates
  • Justin’s hazelnut butter, the big jar
  • rice cakes
  • whole grain bread
  • maple brown sugar oatmeal
  • cacoa nibs
  • lemons
  • nectarines
  • plums
  • smoked gouda cheese, pre-sliced
  • blueberries
  • chia seeds
  • butter lettuce
  • classic hummus
  • cinnamon sugar
  • coconut shavings
  • walnuts
  • almonds
  • a few bananas
  • deep river potato chips
  • lemonade
  • guacamole
  • hint of lime tortilla chips
  • vanilla yogurt
  • bagels
  • berry cream cheese
  • peaches
  • pineapple
  • strawberries
  • raspberries
  • passion fruit
  • honeycrisp apples
  • whole grain pasta
  • pasta sauce with spices
  • fresh Italian bread
  • white wine

Fake Spring: Sunrises

One of the things I live for in this life is fake spring. I swear, this is a real thing. When it hits late February, usually like 22nd through 24th-ish, there’s random 50 degree weather that comes out of nowhere and forces you to wear a lighter coat and step over puddles. If you think I’m lying, watch the end of this video I made last year and tell me that history isn’t repeating itself.

I know fake spring is just a product of global warming, and it ends as soon as March hits, but I love reveling in it.

Fake spring brings a lot of beautiful sunrises. Since my roommate doesn’t sleep in my room anymore (don’t ask), I perpetually keep the window blinds open, and every morning around 6:40 or so I wake up for just a few minutes to watch the mountains turn orange and pink. Of course, I go right back to sleep, but it’s so cute that the sun wakes me up like that to have that moment.

That used to happen to me when I lived in my house on the beach. I would wake up to one of the most beautiful songs in the entire world, Ms by alt-j, which soon became my regular alarm, and I would eat a slow breakfast and write in my journal in front of the waves because the sunrise came through my window with such force that I could not go back to sleep; my room was too orange. It is one of my favorite memories ever and always makes me feel so calm.

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I actually found a piece of writing from sometime during senior year about those Fake Spring sunrises, something I have never shown anyone (and listen to this while reading)…

I never thought months later at 5:45 AM I would be missing my old routine.

Wecan’tlosetouchbutwecan’tletgooooo

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOhhhhh….. My eyes open. My room is soft gold. The deep brown wood of the skylight and closet window is the color of my hair. My hair is long, I am wearing a bleach-printed thin white t-shirt, my track bag is packed in the corner. It could be the morning of my AP testing, the morning of prom, or the morning of my birthday, but regardless, pink and gold and orange light fills the room with such intensity that I am forced to get up.

Blueandwhitegunmadefromle-e-e-gooooo

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooOOOOOh….. I turn over in my light pink comforter and my bed squeaks. I smell the smell that permeates the house that I cannot describe. It’s clean and furniture-y and sandy. I’ll know it if I go back. It’s something in the carpets. I feel the empty stomach and chapped lips of an early morning, the weight of the world holding me in bed. It’s how I felt the morning of April 30th, and how I feel now.

Allthevowelsvowtoholdyourname…. I am thinking about the oatmeal concoction coming to me. I roll out of bed and go to the blueberry bowls, checking every window along the way for signs of the sunrise. The sunrise follows me down the captain’s stairs, and floods my path towards the kitchen. I stop and turn and run to the backyard, the backyard is ocean number thirty one.

Keepyourestateeeeeeeeee….. clean of me.

The feeling that I get when I open the door is like the feeling of the bells.

I’ve pillowed you so many times this week…. The sky is a shocked pink, the pink of lox sold to top bagels at Cohen’s and strawberry lollipops. The moon still looms up ahead and the ocean is beginning to breathe as we head throughout spring to its golden season. Pink, pink, pink, magenta, pearly pink with orange creamsicle. A little purple, like a periwinkle.

Closeeyes,open,closeagain,forgetand fall asleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.

The air is a wet cold punctuated with warm salt, coating my face in a residue that will hang throughout the day like laundry on the line that never quite dries. The hot and cold gusts fuse together uncomfortably. I shiver out of hunger and drowsiness. But I begin to wake up. I walk down the steep wooden attachment stairs and hit sand. My feet, dry, tread sand easily and then I sit down.

The dark seeks dark. The dark seeks dark. OOOOOOooooooohhhhh, darker.

oOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooohhhhh, darker.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooOoooOOooOooOOoOOooooh,

Andthat’sallofmyyouthpressedintooneglassofwater.